July 30, 2014
2014 Competition


Applications for the third annual Entrepreneur-YOU business plan competition are now being accepted from women owned businesses or women with business ideas. Entrepreneur-YOU is a program of education and resources to assist women in starting and running a business created through the collaboration of Walsh College, Michigan Women’s Foundation and Inforum Michigan. The competition will award cash prizes and in-kind services to 10 women-owned businesses, including technical assistance and counsel on marketing, financial management, and more.

A two-page application is the first step in the competition, and requests basic information about the business or idea. Entry deadline is June 30, 2014 and applications must be submitted online to https://miwf.fluidreview.com, along with a $10 processing fee.

Women entrepreneurs may enter one of two categories: Growth Business or Lifestyle Business. Both categories include companies in any stage from birth on. To fit into the Growth Business category, the company needs to have less than $500,000 in annual sales, whereas to fit into the Lifestyle Business category, the company would have annual sales under $100,000. Companies with over $500,000 in annual revenue are not eligible for this competition.

The major difference between a Growth Business and a Lifestyle Business is the owner’s vision for the future. In a Lifestyle Business, the owner wants to pursue a personal passion or talent, engage in small, managed growth, and produce an income to support the individual or family. The business likely closes when the owner decides. With a Growth Business, the vision of the owner is to keep building equity so that it can be eventually sold or passed on to a successor. In both categories, the company must be woman owned, founded, and led. In both categories, the prize money should make a significant impact in launching or assisting in significant growth - $25,000 for Growth category; $15,000 for Lifestyle.

Carolyn Cassin, president of the Michigan Women’s Foundation, lead organization for the competition, said more than $200,000 in cash and in-kind services has been awarded to 12 women entrepreneurs over the past two years. “This competition is an unprecedented opportunity for women to pitch their business ideas in front of female community and business leaders and investors. Along with cash prizes, the competition allows women to test their venture ideas and support the creation of viable businesses,” said Cassin.

The five finalists from each category will be announced by August 1. Finalists will be assigned to a business coach who will help them formalize their business plans and polish their business pitches. All 10 will compete in the Pitch Competition on Friday, October 10, 2014 at the Walsh College Troy campus and a panel of judges will choose three winners from each category.

Kim Cross/Michigan Women’s Foundation kcross@miwf.com or 313.962.1920
Jan Hubbard/Walsh College jhubbard@walshcollege.edu or 248-823-1392 

Concept Paper Requirements
Submissions must be typed and presented in a PDF document not to exceed two pages total; all required information must be contained within the two pages submitted. No other supporting documents will be accepted.
Please address/answer the following questions in your concept paper.
1. Describe your business, idea, or product.
2. What problem does it solve for your target market? Include unique aspects of your product or service.
3. What is the market you are targeting?
4. What stage of business are you in?
5. How are you going to sell your product or service? What is the strategy to grow your business?
6. What is your revenue model? What is your break even budget? When do you expect to break even?
7. How much money do you need to get started or grow and what do you plan to use it for? 


A crowd of about 75 people witnessed the business pitches of 15 women at Walsh College today in the second annual Entrepreneur-YOU competition for $75,000 in venture funding donated by Huntington Bank, The Ford Motor Company Fund and The Kellogg Foundation.

Winners were selected by a panel of judges including Nancy Phillippart, general partner of Belle Michigan; Maria Thompson, founder of T/J Technologies and executive-in-residence of Arsenal Venture Partners; Sonali Vijayavargia, founder and managing director Augment Ventures; Beverly Wall, CEO, Languages International; and Mallory Sharpe of The Ford Motor Company Fund.
The competitors were grouped in three categories – Lifestyle companies; social mission companies and high growth companies. More than 150 ventures were submitted to the competition, reviewed by business professionals, who selected the 15 finalists. The finalists prepared written business plans and presented a four-minute pitch before the judges in today’s final competition.
Following are the winners and their prizes:
1st place Garden Hoard, Katie Flickinger, Livonia $10,000
2nd place Ribbon Farms Hops, Susan McCabe, Detroit $7,500
3rd place Teatroiter, Kristen Pfeifer, Dearborn $5,000
Social Mission
1st place CentriCycle, Jenna Boeing, Ann Arbor $10,000
2nd place Play Place for Autistic Children, Shell Jones, Sterling Heights $7,500
3rd place SEVA Corp. Shwetha Maddur, Novi $5,000
High Growth
1st ENT BioTech Solutions, Andrea Roumell Dickson, Detroit $15,000
2nd place Opti 02, Ruby Ghosh, Okemos $10,000
3rd place AdAdapted, Molly McFarland, Ann Arbor $5,000

Finalist names and descriptions.

Three of the five contestants in each category will be awarded funds from Huntington Bank, and The Ford Motor Company Fund.

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2012 Competition Winners




Capturing first place and winning $15,000 plus in-kind support was Ann Arbor resident Angelique Johnson, interim CEO and CTO of MEMStim LLC. Her company developed a fully automated manufacturing process for electrode lead production employing nanofabrication of thin films. MEMStim LLC intends to disrupt the neurostimulator market with a new automated nanofabrication manufacturing method to replace hand-assembly.

“My company is focused on implantable nerve stimulators to replace lost nerve function. Our intent is to treat conditions such as chronic pain, hearing loss and Parkinson’s disease,” said Johnson.

Johnson, who recently earned her PhD in electrical engineering, is the inventor of MEMStim's patent-pending technology. She has 10 years of experience working on bridging the gap between research-based devices and biocompatible neurostimulation devices. To view a short video of Angelique please click here.

Second place went to Susan Land Sprentall of Wixom, who received $10,000 and in-kind support. Her company, SurClean, Inc. has developed disruptive technology to selectively remove paint and other surface coatings from multiple types of surfaces. SurClean's proprietary system represents the next generation of surface coating removal. Sprentall is CEO and owner of American Laser Enterprises, providing manufacturing and technical engineering services to laser equipment OEMs, system integrators, distributors, and end users. She is a serial entrepreneur with 25 years of extensive technical sales and marketing experience as well as 13 years in the laser industry.

“Laser technology is an exciting field and developing the SurClean product is rewarding since we are not only reducing cost, but eliminating hazardous waste while creating a safe environment for the operator,” said Sprentall. “Placing in this competition helps build credibility with the investment community knowing our business plan has been vetted by a reputable group of business leaders.” To view a short video of Susan please click here.

Winning third place in the Entrepreneur-YOU competition and receiving $5,000 plus in-kind support was Angela McCommons. Her company, Kids Kruiser LLC is a premium transportation service; serving youth ages 3 - 18 in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas of Southeastern Michigan. Kids Kruiser was established to provide a safe, reliable, child-friendly transportation service for young children and teens, and alleviate this growing stressor for parents and their children. McCommons, president and sole owner of Kids Kruiser, has professional experience at Chrysler Group LLC in problem solving, quality control and manufacturing resident engineering, as well as consulting her self-employed husband in growing his successful barber business. To view a short video of Angela please click here.

Highlights from the 2013 Entrepreneur-YOU Conference 


Walsh Leadership Center Sponsors
DKSS CPAs + Advisors
Benefit Review Services
Butzel Long
Comerica Bank
Core3 Solutions
Merrill Lynch-Global Wealth Management-Nancy L. Salvia

Interested in Sponsorship?
Sponsors are needed to help cover the costs of producing the event and keep ticket prices low. Download the brochure for sponsor levels and benefits.


Past Collaborators
Huntington Bank
Michigan Women's Foundation
Walsh College

Past Sponsors
Hennessey Capital
Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss
Your People LLC

Past Exhibitors
The Athena Group
Silpada Designs

Past Partners
Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce
Macomb County Chamber of Commerce
Michigan Association of Female Entrepreneurs (MAFE)
Michigan Business & Professional Association (MBPA)
Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Michigan International Chamber of Commerce (MIICC)
Michigan Women's Tax Association (MWTA)
Troy Chamber of Commerce